SAM GAGNER’S NAME “OUT THERE”

During tonight’s Hotstove portion of the HNIC pre-game, Elliotte Friedman told the nation "Sam Gagner’s name is out there" and suggested the Oilers would find him a place he’d be comfortable with playing (if a transaction were to be completed). It sounds very much like the team and player have decided a move could be made if it fits for all sides, although specifics weren’t covered in the brief report.

LATE SEPTEMBER (21st)

Gagner’s season went sideways in a hurry one autumn night in Vancouver, and the impact has been felt by player and team all season long. I don’t for a minute believe that the Kassian stick incident led us to this day, but it probably hurried it along.

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Bottom line: Craig MacTavish has to make plans for next year. He has to ask questions:

  1. Is Dallas Eakins the coach of next year’s team?
  2. Do the Oilers need to improve up the middle?
  3. Has Mark Arcobello done enough to make Gagner expendable?
  4. Will the organization have the same number of similar talents in the top 6F next season?
  5. Can they get value for Gagner?
  6. Is Gagner a part of the future with Eakins in charge?

Those are tough questions, but the news today suggests that they exist in the organization and Sam Gagner (who perhaps Gagner has questions about his future as an Oiler) may be heading out of Edmonton during the season.

What does it all mean? Well, you never get full value in these situations, so prepare to be disappointed with the return. On the other hand, the Oilers will be going to market next summer with more money and will very likely arrive at training camp next fall with a bigger lineup.

We wait.

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  • reaperfunkss

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, everybody calm down. Only one man in hockey has more rings than our POHO, I think he knows a little something about winning, if that was ever in question.

    Honestly though, might as well hope they at least get a useful magic bean oil king back. Lazar or Samuelson would be nice, but when they are overwhelmed in the nhl next year they wouldn’t be. The team is gonna die no matter what, as long as six rings has a job. Might as well make a bunch of roster moves so you’re not always yelling at the same guys.

  • reaperfunkss

    DO NOT LET MACT MAKE A TRADE!! He is stupid. the problem is incompetence at the top so why let a fool make a trade for this team?

    Not gonna get anything for Gagner anyway and Arco has not shown to be a replacement yet.

    • Serious Gord

      Its what Edmonton teams do…hand the reigns to the geniuses (not so much)…look at what Tillman did for our Eskimos….or rather what he did for the Argonauts…lol

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    I don’t think it’s rocket science what MacT needs to do in the off season and trade deadline. Move Hemsky ,Gagner , nick shultz and anyone else we can get rid of at the deadline. If this happens we will have a ton of cap space to sign two new goalies, some players with actual nhl experience ( no more Belovs) and leave who ever we draft in juniors.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Sometimes you just have to make moves and hope for the best. Teams trade under performing players all the time and some guys just flourish in other environments… Lupul, JVR, Perron, etc Some guys just need a change of scenery. When your team is crap and you’ve got the wrong mix just do something! You might pull off a well thought out win-win….or you might just get lucky.

  • reaperfunkss

    Maybe Kadri is coming this way from the Big Smoke!

    Also, Gagner got the pay the market had him at according to his numbers & what other players were getting. Sometimes players & teams just have to make a change & we all know the Oilers have to change the make up of this team so why not Sammy? Besides, there is other centers on this team right now who can do what Sammy does only better. Let’s get it done!

  • D-Unit

    Gagner probably talked with ex Oilers in Anaheim the other day , and decided he might want to go to a contender . He’s probably given up the Oilers will be a contender any year soon . Time for Gagner to maybe blossom in another venue like a lot have done . Big salary like Smid had and probably quite similar scenario trading him .Expect return to be negative at best , unfortunately .

    • **

      I was just going to post the same thing, Cog’s and Sam are best friends and I am sure Penner and Sam are friends as well, Can you imagine Cog’s telling him about his new contract, the great team,house on the beach and no one knowing who you are in public, I am sure that was enough for Gag’s comparing the two situation and he went to Mac T.
      This is going so bad here it is scarey, we have 6 month’s of winter, a management and owner that are alienating the entire fan base, a new coach that seems over his head and is saddled with two assistants that have survived 3 and 4 head coaches respectively.
      Who would want to play here.

    • Serious Gord

      I am not sure much of a return is required when you’re paying someone close to $5m/yr for a guy that serves no specific purpose. He’s not a terrible player but doesn’t excel at anything.

      Is he…

      A PP specialist? Nope – average at best and can’t retreive pucks.
      Shootout specialist? Nope, not anymore, not sure he’s top 3 on the team.
      Defensive specialist? NOPE.
      Face-off specialist? NOPE.
      Crasher? NOPE.
      Leadership? NOPE.

      The Oilers need players that can play specific roles VERY well.

      I say get what you can for him, and hopefully whatever comes back for him can fill a specific role.

  • S cottV

    1. He may not survive into Feb the way it’s going and with the teams they are up against.

    2. With RNH 2 to 3 years away from entering his prime a strong 2C or better yet an immediate 1C is a must, in order to compete for a playoff spot.

    3. Arco can fill in short term but is not the mid term answer. He needs to demonstrate 3C capability beyond what Gordon is capable of in order to stick long term. Don’t see that happening but give him a go to see. Would love to see the Oilers so strong in the middle, that it bumps Gordon to an excellent 4C.

    4. Oilers have to plug holes in the middle and back end. The abundance of small skill forwards are expendable if could somehow assist toward filling the critical holes.

    5. Probably not but move him anyway. Oilers will not make the playoffs with Gagner in the middle.

    6. I don’t see Eakins or Gagner in the mix beyond this year. Gagner will probably go at the deadline. Eakins may not make it past the end of the month but even if he does, I really think MacT will be forced to fess up that Eakins is not the answer for a playoff run.

  • S cottV

    1. He may not survive into Feb the way it’s going and with the teams they are up against.

    2. With RNH 2 to 3 years away from entering his prime a strong 2C or better yet an immediate 1C is a must, in order to compete for a playoff spot.

    3. Arco can fill in short term but is not the mid term answer. He needs to demonstrate 3C capability beyond what Gordon is capable of in order to stick long term. Don’t see that happening but give him a go to see. Would love to see the Oilers so strong in the middle, that it bumps Gordon to an excellent 4C.

    4. Oilers have to plug holes in the middle and back end. The abundance of small skill forwards are expendable if could somehow assist toward filling the critical holes.

    5. Probably not but move him anyway. Oilers will not make the playoffs with Gagner in the middle.

    6. I don’t see Eakins or Gagner in the mix beyond this year. Gagner will probably go at the deadline. Eakins may not make it past the end of the month but even if he does, I really think MacT will be forced to fess up that Eakins is not the answer for a playoff run.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Gagner should be going to Buffalo to be the Sabres top right wing in exchange for Ehrhoff. Who cares if Gagner doesn’t want to go there if it’s the best move for the Oilers and buffalo shows interest?

  • Slapshot

    Does everyone remember when Tambellini first took over? They blamed the losing on the veterans and the bad attitude and they got rid of them,then management blamed the training staff after Souray called them out because the Oilers wanted him to play hurt and they were all fired,then management blamed the losing on man games lost do to injury and coaching for a few seasons,now Eakins is blaming the losing on inexperience and the players do not understand defense systems,WTF the team is made up mostly of young players and wasn’t Eakins hired because he had success developing young players?
    When will the blaming carousal end up on management and the professional and amateur scouting departments, they are the idiots who put this team together!!!

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      Easy, when we the fans stop paying and supporting this circus…

      Sh!t rolls downhill, management has used every excuse in the book to explain the teams lack of success and progress the past 8 years. It’s time the fans let the sh!t roll on Kevin Lowe.

      I would love to hear a ‘Fire Kevin Lowe!’ chant on HNIC! That might get a few peoples attention…

  • Oiler63

    We will be in 30th, 5 games from now. We play Tampa, STL, the Pens, Hawks, and Dallas (Lucky to win 1 of 5). The Sabers are 5W 3L 2T in their last ten and their next 5 games are against the Canes, Panthers, Capitals, Flyers and Leafs (Probably win 3 of 5). Which puts Buffalo one point up on us with 2 games in hand.

    At least Ekblad will look good on the second pairing next year. Does a roster of 1st pairing of XXX, Shultz Jr. 2nd pair Ference and Ekblad, 3rd pair Nurse and Petry get us McDavid?

  • Oiler63

    What troubles me is that every year for the last 5 we have said that we have speed and finesse with a promising offense, but we need more reliable goaltending, and bigger, stronger, nastier forwards and defense.

    As much as MacT has overpromised and underdelivered, he has acquired more reliable goaltending ( Bryzgalov), and bigger, stronger, nastier forwards and defense (He added Perron, Gordon, Gadzic and drafted Nurse)

    Not yet the results, but mover toward that end.

  • Oiler63

    Borrowing a quote from Moneyball, There are good teams and there are bad teams, then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s oilers.

    Except we don’t have a Billy Beane. All we have is Kevin Lowe and his fifty feet of crap!!

  • Rick Stroppel

    PLEASE DO SOMETHING

    Fred Shero had many great sayings and one of them was this: “If you want to avoid controversy, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing”.

    It looks like MacTavish really wants to avoid controversy.

    If he doesn’t do something, and quick, this is what MacTavish is saying to all the fans AND every player on the team: “I can say anything (coaching not a problem, bold moves, impatient, etc.) and it all means NOTHING. I don’t really have a plan, I am just making this up as we go along. I decide everything on whims and hunches, just like my mentor Kevin Lowe! It’s the Oilers way!”

    I strongly suspect that Gagner has requested a trade. After being part of this endless gong show for seven years, who can blame him? He seems like a nice young man and I wish him well wherever he winds up.

  • **

    Why not trade him … It worked for Cogliano. Lord knows we couldn’t use a third line centre like Cogliano on this team right now. Oh wait we have Boyd Gordon, who scores a point a game. Trade gags so he can be a point a game player on a team like LA or Anaheim, or Van, or St Louis.

  • Oiler63

    Possible LD shopping list. CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF, DMITRY KULIKOV, MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO, PAUL MARTIN, BRYDON COBURN, ANDREI MARKOV UFA, DAN HAMHUIS. Who is possibly in play? Who is a good fit for XXX?

    1st pairing of XXX, Shultz Jr. 2nd pair Ference and Ekblad, 3rd pair Nurse and Petry

    Probably not my first choice, but Ehrhoff could be a nice fit there. I’d take Markov on a 3 year deal.

    WITH THE RIGHT XXX, I don’t mind those pairings. Better than what we’re rolling now.

  • Serious Gord

    Sam gagner’s value as a player is less than his contract is in $. In other words he has negative value – if he just disappeared and the oil got his salary and roster spot back they could get a better player – better ability and a better fit – with the cash.

    Thus the oil when – not if – they trade him sometime before the start of next season will be trading for another player who has negative value in the eyes of their current team.

    The difficulty is that the type of player gagner is is in extreme surplus – very few teams need or want what he has to offer whereas what the oil needs is in heavy demand almost everywhere

    So the oil need to find a team that is under extreme salary cap pressure, has a 1-2 line player who is under performing and is grossly over paid – much more than gagner – and that team has to have an up and coming replacement for that player – because the oil don’t have one to sweeten the deal.

    I have no idea what team (or teams) fits that bill but I fear that his boldness will trade like for like – a small, ineffective, sub 1-2 line centre coming back or get a bunch of 3-4 line size that is too slow.

    And when that trade happens it will be a huge negative on the scoresheet for MacT. Signing gagner was a massive mistake.

    • Serious Gord

      Gord, another way another team may look at is almost every player the Oiler’s have traded lately has been far better on the next team. With the cap they will have to take back another contract that may be deemed excessive but maybe that player will fit in better here,do you feel the Oil management is starting to feel the heat?

      • Serious Gord

        I think it is accurate to say that players who leave the oil on balance do better than they did in EDM. Conversely I think that the opposite has been the case for players coming to EDM (perrons regression of late is a very interesting case that may only just be developing – i had a brief on air chat with rob brown about it after the San Jose game – he may be losing heart working for this coach and this non-team team).

        That said while other teams may be making that ‘we can resurrect this player’ calculation when they look at the possibility of trading with EDM, very little of that valuation will be credited to EDM. I can’t envision MacT saying to another GM “gagner’s worth more to you than he is to us because your coaches can get more out of him than our wretched staff can, so you need to cough up more on your side to get him”.

        As for the likely hood of a move in the near future:

        I think the pressure is really on MacT to do something. Anyone looking at the schedule can see that the crushing defeats aren’t going to end any time soon – pretty-much all the way to the all star break. And as some have noted above, it’s very likely that buffalo will pass the oil leaving them in dead-ass last.

        The pressure to act is only going to get worse – my guess is the real tipping point will be when the sales dept starts calling season ticket and regular super pack clients to talk about renewing for next year. Can you imagine the kind of calls those are going to be? And the same goes for ad sales and other marketing sales. You have to think they are looking at a lot of resistance and quite possibly some price cutting on the ad side for sure.

        Once that negative pressure starts – or just before it (I imagine the marketing guys are already sqwalking about it) They will have to act if only to appear like they will be better next year.

        Obviously I think the best action to take is not a trade – but to fire the POHO and the coach. That would really take the pressure off the sales dept.

        More likely – if past actions foretell the future we will see a trade of gagner and or hemsky. I think tambo was conservative because Lowe insisted he be that way and that MacT is under similar constraints unless yak becomes a real public irritant and then Lowe (and Katz?) will direct that he be moved.

        So yes – I think it very likely we will see something of note happen in the next six weeks. But I am very pessimistic that it will be something of significant long term benefit.

        • CMG30

          I know how my renewal call is going to go.
          I think the corporations are finding clients are not really enthused about going to games anymore and hopefully will be looking for a better “PR” investment.
          I wonder if people are taking their names of the waiting list.
          As far as buddy Bob Stauffer goes I bet this is driving him crazy trying to defend this nightmare.

          • Serious Gord

            I think bob is in agony over how bad this organization is. I also think that he knows that the issues begin and end with Lowe. And that there is very little evidence that Katz has the guts to fire him.

          • Thumby

            I can’t speak for BOB. But do you actually listen to his show. All the time? I do. Whether live or podcast later. He is just as hard on the poor play by the team as anyone else here in Edmonton. The Oilers record is near indefensible.

            Where we see whats going on on the ice Bob sees also what is going on off the ice. He cannot report everything he sees and hears. Its incumbent upon him though to report the facts.

            I feel for the team right now. Now isn’t the time to sharpen the knives. And I much as anyone wish this season had gone different. The results are what they are and going into 2014 we are 29th in the standing. Who would have thought that?

            I saw us as 20-23 place team. The needs of this team are glaring. Realignment intothe Pacific Division has shown us what are sorely lacking.

            Backin the day the Smythe Division was one of the strongest. Because the Oilers,Flames and Jets all had good teams and competed to be top dog. The Pacific Division has 3 ofthetopdogsin the WC. For the Oilers to be competitive they are going to have a team that has skill,size and not just average goaltending but great goaltending. MacT has a lot of work to do to reshape this team. Eakins has a lot of work to do also. On the ice and off the ice. Eakins has his faults and by goodness when your record is as poor as ours is those faults are just like a spotlight.

            I am as frustrated as anyone but when I look at the WC standings and see who is on top I can’t help but be a little jealous. But they too paid in terrible season after terrible season.The top dogs did not get there overnight. I want to be Chicago or San Jose or LA. But mistakes in the past 5 years have cost us dearly. Drafting for more size and grit and character is needed. MacT came in last draft and Nurse was our number 1 pick. Moroz number 2.I can’t argue those picks. Greg Chase in the 7th round? It will take MacTand Eakins more than just this year and next to get this train wreck moving in the right direction.

          • D-Unit

            I had left the word “your” buddy out by mistake, Bob always takes Gord’s calls,I listen everyday as well.

            The problem’s the team has is not what Mac T or Dallas Eakins has done although Eakins has made some rookie mistakes that have made the situation worse.

            If the rebuild started with drafting Taylor Hall the veteran players that have been brought in have for sure in hindsight been wrong and the only one of them currently in the NHL is Ryan Smyth,(Belanger,Barker,Eager,Hordichuck,Petrell) I didn’t include Ryan Whitney and Andy Sutton because they were the right veterans until they got hurt.
            They somehow have to find a way to get some better veterans in here or the losing culture will continue and it can’t wait for rookie players that will be here in 2-3 years.
            This all falls on the management and pro scouting staff that were here the previous 4 years.

            Do you really think season ticket holders and fan’s need to keep shelling out for this if none of this is addressed before season ticket renewal?

  • Serious Gord

    The only measure of a player’s worth is his ability to help his team.

    Gagner does not help us.

    He may just be what the Devils need. We need someone like Adam Larson. Not yet a #1 Dmen. But may be soon.

  • Serious Gord

    I am skeptical about Sam Gagner being willing for a trade knowing what I know about the circumstances behind his requiring the NTC. But if those circumstances have changed or he was able to make things work then I suppose it’s possible.

  • Slapshot

    Roster for next year, if UFA breaks our direction

    Hall 6 RNH 6 Ebs 6 –
    Perron 3.8 P. Stastny 5.5 Yak 3.75 –
    D Winnik 2.5 Gordon 3 Downie 3
    Smyth 1 Arco 1.5 Brad Boyes 2

    Ehrhoff 4 Shultz (3×3)
    Ekblad 3.75 Ference 3.25
    Nurse 1.7 Petry 2.75 MAX

    =62.5

    AROUND 8.5 MILL IN CAP
    Leave 2.25 for YAK extension (7 years 6 mill if he earns it) Leaves 6.25 for a goalie to GET AND ACTUAL GOALIE!!!!
    Spend 5 on a goalie 1A and 1.25 goalie B

    You’re welcome MAC T. What say you nation?

    • Slapshot

      One huge thing you overlooked in your little scenario. No UFA is going to sign here unless you overpay an old player like Ference. Edmonton will only be able to attract B and C level free agents so do not ever count on the UFA breaking your direction

    • CMG30

      i love your optism, and love the choices you chose for players!! but by end of next year yak wouldn’t have earned 6 million..around 4 will be good, but i like that you went and put stastny and winnik and downie…3 guys with size and talent!! i like the boyes depth signing as well

      buttt i wouldn’t resign ryan smyth, id leave that spot open for maybe travis ewanyk if hess ready maybe mitch moroz…its been trashed a lot but i like the idea you got going…ehrhoff…..lets only hope we can snag him!

  • Slapshot

    The value of all players on the Oilers decreases every year. I feel sorry for players like Gagner so many coaches lost his compete level. It will happen to all the Oilers a couple more years Hall heart will be gone.

    This team is a place players go to die. Can’t wait to see how many years it will take for Nurse to lose his heart.